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A Big Win for Immigration Control and Hispanic Outreach
Let’s not squander this opportunity.


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Mark Krikorian

The president of the League of United Latin American Citizens issued a statement in the wake of Tuesday’s elections: “The elections of 2010 are further proof of the power of the Latino vote.” In fact, though, the elections are further proof that Hispanic Americans are Americans, and that amnesty isn’t a winning political issue even among them.

The 112th Congress is going to be a lot more hawkish on immigration than its predecessors were. Numbers USA figures that the new House of Representatives will have at least 50 fewer supporters of increased immigration than the current one. The current House has 206 members that the organization considers to support higher immigration most or all of the time, compared with 155 higher-immigration members in races so far decided.

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Those pro-amnesty, mass-immigration congressmen were replaced with the likes of Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, who rose to national prominence as the mayor of Hazleton, Pa., where he tried to enact a local ordinance to limit the settlement of illegal aliens. Joining him in the House will be “true reformers” (as defined by responses to Numbers USA’s candidate survey) Allen West, Steve Southerland, Daniel Webster, Scott DesJarlais, Ben Quayle, Paul Gosar, David Schweikert, Joe Heck, and others.

Contrary to Harry Reid’s notorious comment that “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican,” the most notable Hispanic winners Tuesday were Republicans – and immigration hawks. Senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida and Governors-elect Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada all support Arizona’s SB1070 and other measures to clamp down on illegal immigration.

Likewise in the House of Representatives. Bill Flores, also listed by Numbers USA as a “true reformer,” wiped out 20-year incumbent and amnesty supporter Chet Edwards, who’d earned a grade of D-minus on immigration, in a district that stretches between Dallas and Houston.

In Texas’s 23rd district, which includes the western half of the state’s border with Mexico, Quico Conseco — who hasn’t filled out Numbers USA’s survey but is pretty hawkish on immigration and border issues — defeated Ciro Rodriguez, who’d earned a D-plus grade on immigration this past Congress.

In southwest Washington State, Republican immigration hawk Jaime Herrera beat Democrat Denny Heck, who was apparently so wary of the issue he didn’t even mention border security or illegal immigration on his website. Likewise with Raul Labrador in Idaho, who beat freshman Blue Dog Walt Minnick, who’d earned a respectable B from Numbers USA but unsuccessfully ran for even more cover by promising to back restrictionists on almost all issues.

Ordinary Hispanic voters didn’t seem any more wedded to the immigration issue, reflecting the recent Pew Hispanic Center finding that immigration ranked fifth in importance out of seven issues among Hispanic registered voters. Exit polling shows that in House races nationwide, Hispanic support for Republicans increased to 34 percent of the vote, up from 29 percent in 2008 and 30 percent in 2006. Between one-quarter and one-third of the Hispanic vote is the normal range for Republicans, and this election followed the same pattern, with Meg Whitman getting 30 percent, Carly Fiorina getting 28 percent, and Sharron Angle getting 30 percent. Even Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, a hate figure for the open-borders crowd, got 28 percent of the Hispanic vote — which is actually two points more than Janet Napolitano’s Republican opponent got in 2006.

In fact, for all of Harry Reid’s demagoguery, he got almost exactly the same percentage of the Hispanic vote this time (68 percent) as he did in 2004 (67 percent). And Barbara Boxer got only 65 percent of the Hispanic vote this time, compared with 73 percent in 2004.



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